Home Travel Guides Exploring the Historic Caravanserais in Iran

Exploring the Historic Caravanserais in Iran

Caravanserais in Iran

by Parastoo Sahebi
17 minutes read
Caravanserais in Iran

Caravanserais in Iran are a symbol of the culture and history of Iran, known for their hospitality, and they are considered among the most popular tourist attractions in the country. Many foreign tourists visit these caravanserais when traveling to Iran. In the past, caravanserais in Iran were often built by the order of kings to accommodate pilgrims or commercial caravans on their travel routes in different regions of the country, often near major cities. Iranian caravanserais usually have a large courtyard surrounded by small rooms for travelers to rest and stay for a few nights.

Caravanserais in Iran bear a great resemblance to modern European hotels, and their function is quite similar. When visiting these caravanserais, you can become familiar with the architecture of various historical periods in Iran. If you are interested in discovering the mysteries behind the caravanserais in Iran and exploring the historical attractions of Iran, be sure to follow this article from Eligasht magazine to the end, as we will provide you with interesting information.


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Famous Caravanserais in Iran

Iran has always been a significant route for many commercial caravans throughout history due to its strategic location. Many merchants would stop along the Silk Road in Iran and rest for a few days. The construction of caravanserais flourished during that time. Caravanserais in Iran were known as safe havens along the route where traders and merchants sought refuge from the weather and rested for a few days in a secure and equipped environment, protecting them from bandits.

During the 10th and 11th centuries in the Persian calendar, the busy roads of Iran were filled with caravanserais built under the orders of local rulers to serve traders and travelers. These caravanserais became symbols of security and comfort in those regions, and travelers would visit them to rest for a few nights during their long journeys. The design of these structures indicates that their purpose was to ensure the safety of travelers during their rest, protecting them from the threat of bandits. In the following, we intend to introduce some of the most famous caravanserais in Iran in detail.

Famous Caravanserais in Iran

1. Zeinodin Caravanserai, Mehriz

Many caravanserais in Iran were built during the reign of Shah Abbas Safavi. According to archaeological studies in Iran, 999 caravanserais were directly ordered by Shah Abbas. Zeinodin Caravanserai in Yazd is one of these famous caravanserais. This large and beautiful caravanserai was built in the 10th century AH (16th century AD) to commemorate Shah Abbas’s meeting with Zeinodin Ganjali Khan, the ruler of Kerman. It has a unique architecture. The design and construction of this structure were carried out by Sultan Mohammad Sultan Yazdi, and an interesting and distinctive feature of this caravanserai is its circular design.

During the Safavid era, many architects were Muslims and Shia, so they often incorporated sacred numbers into the construction of various buildings, including caravanserais. In the design of Zeinodin Caravanserai, five towers, and twelve iwans were used, which hold great significance for Muslims. Zeinodin Caravanserai is an architectural masterpiece of the Safavid period and is the only circular Iranian building on the Silk Road. It is located 50 kilometers away from Yazd in the Mehriz region.

– Address of Zeinodin Caravanserai: Yazd Province, Mehriz City, Mehriz-Anar Highway, Zeinodin Caravanserai.

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2.Shah Abbasi Caravanserai, Meybod

Most caravanserais in Iran are located along the Silk Road and in the central desert regions of Iran. Shah Abbasi Caravanserai in Meybod is one of the valuable structures built in the Meybod area of Yazd City by the order of Shah Abbas Safavid to facilitate travel and create more communication routes. It is considered one of the historical and valuable monuments of this region. Shah Abbasi Caravanserai is architecturally designed in a four-iwan style, suitable for the desert climate of Yazd. It is one of the largest caravanserais in Iran with over 100 rooms, 24 of which are located in the courtyard of the caravanserai.

When you enter the courtyard of this complex through the main gate, you will see an octagonal water basin at the southern entrance of the building, which is supplied with water through a qanat. Currently, the Shah Abbasi Caravanserai is managed by the Ministry of Cultural Heritage, and tourists often visit this caravanserai to visit the Zeilo and Meybod Museum.

Address of Shah Abbasi Caravanserai: Meybod City, Yazd Province, Ghazi Mir Hossein Boulevard, Shah Abbasi Caravanserai.

Caravanserais in Iran

3. Sa’d ol-Saltaneh Caravanserai, Qazvin

Sa’d ol-Saltaneh Caravanserai is one of the most famous caravanserais in Iran, which also bears the title of the largest covered caravanserai in Iran and is located in the center of Qazvin city. This caravanserai was built during the rule of the Qajar kings and is considered one of the most valuable historical monuments of the Qajar period. One interesting fact about Sa’d ol-Saltaneh Caravanserai is that according to available historical documents, the construction of this grand caravanserai took only two years by the best craftsmen of Qazvin, which is truly astonishing for a caravanserai of this size.

The construction order for this caravanserai was issued during the reign of Nasser al-Din Shah Qajar, and its construction started in 1310 AH (Hijri) and was completed in 1312 AH (Hijri). The ruler of Qazvin at that time, Mohammad Bagher Khan Sa’d ol-Saltaneh Isfahani, issued the order to build this caravanserai to accommodate Ottoman and Russian merchants so that they could rest in this area for a few days during their journey. This caravanserai has about 400 rooms and is one of the most beautiful caravanserais in Iran in terms of architecture.

Address of Sa’d ol-Saltaneh Caravanserai: Sa’d ol-Saltaneh Caravanserai, Qazvin City, Qomri Street, Imam Khomeini Street.


4. Khanat Caravanserai, Tehran

If you have been to the southern part of Tehran, specifically the Molavi neighborhood, you have likely seen the valuable structure of Khanat Caravanserai up close. This caravanserai is located in the historic fabric of the capital and is one of the largest caravanserais in Iran that is built within the city.

In the past, Khanat Caravanserai hosted many merchants and travelers and has a history of nearly 200 years. It is situated in the southern part of Molavi Square and Saheb Jame’ Street, dating back to the late reign of Nasser al-Din Shah Qajar. Today, each of its rooms has been converted into a place for selling groceries and legumes. This caravanserai was originally a place for selling food and oil, which is why its rooms were called “Khane” (house). The caravanserai has 52 houses, and that’s why it has been called Khanat Caravanserai for centuries.

Address of Khanat Caravanserai, Tehran: Tehran Province, Molavi Street, South of Molavi Square, Saheb Jame’ Street, Amin al-Sultan Square, Khanat Caravanserai.

Caravanserais in Iran

5. Sharaf Caravanserai, Khorasan

In eastern Iran, in the land of Khorasan, there are also numerous caravanserais. By the orders of the Safavid and Qajar kings, many caravanserais were built in this region along the Silk Road. Sharaf Caravanserai is one of the most beautiful caravanserais in Iran, dating back to the 5th and 6th centuries AH (Islamic calendar) and serving as a memorial along the famous Silk Road. It is also known as Abgineh or Abgir Caravanserai, which was built in 508 AH (Islamic calendar) on the ancient route from Marv to Neyshabur and is currently located on the route from Mashhad to Sarakhs. Sharaf Caravanserai covers an area of approximately 4,644 square meters and is considered one of the largest caravanserais in Iran, attracting the attention of many tourists with its mesmerizing architecture. The plasterwork and brickwork of Sharaf Caravanserai can be regarded as a masterpiece of Islamic period architecture in Iran.

Currently, this caravanserai operates as the Iran Brickwork Museum, welcoming tourists and history enthusiasts.

Address of Sharaf Caravanserai: Khorasan Razavi Province, Mashhad to Sarakhs Road, 25 kilometers after Mazdavand City, Shorlagh Village, Asphalt Road, Sharaf Caravanserai.


6. Deirgachin Caravanserai, Qom

If you travel from Garmsar city towards Qom, you will come across Deirgachin Caravanserai on your way. According to the investigations conducted by cultural heritage experts, this caravanserai has a history of over 1700 years, and its construction dates back to the Sassanian era.

Many experts believe that during the reign of Ardeshir Babakan, this caravanserai was used as a military fortress, and over time, during the Seljuk, Safavid, and Qajar periods, it underwent reconstruction and transformed into a caravanserai. Deirgachin is also one of the largest caravanserais in Iran, covering an area of about 12 hectares.

Its layout is square-shaped with four iwans (vaulted halls) and it has six guard towers and 44 rooms. The caravanserai had a mosque, a mill, sanitary facilities, a bathhouse, a stable, a kitchen, a reservoir, sewage systems, and rooms for storing food items. It has been given the title of the “Mother of Iranian Caravanserais.”

Address of Deirgachin Caravanserai: Qom Province, Qom-Garmsar Freeway, after Cheshme Shoor Village, Deirgachin Caravanserai.

Caravanserais in Iran

7. Titi Caravanserai, Siahkal

Titi or Titi Siahkal Caravanserai is one of the most famous caravanserais in Iran, located in the northern part of the country in the Siahkal region. This caravanserai was built in Gilan province on the Siahkal-Deylaman road and is one of the most valuable historical structures in Iran with a history of over 600 years. “Titi” means blossom in the Gilaki language, and many locals believe that this caravanserai was built by the order of Titi Khanum, the aunt of one of the Safavid kings. The construction of this caravanserai utilized river stones, gypsum, and sarooj (a traditional Iranian waterproofing material made from clay and other substances).

Address of Titi Caravanserai: Gilan Province, Siahkal-Deylaman Road, Titi Caravanserai.


8. Qasr-e Bahram Caravanserai, Semnan

Qasr-e Bahram Caravanserai is located near the Kavir National Park and is one of the largest caravanserais in Iran on the route from Garmsar to Kashan. This caravanserai is situated on the route connecting the cities of Isfahan, Kashan, and Garmsar and has historically hosted travelers and merchants on this desert route. It is also known as the Abadi Caravanserai and Shah Abbasi Caravanserai, and today it serves as an astronomical observatory, donated to astronomy researchers and enthusiasts for observing desert nights. This caravanserai was originally built during the Sassanian era by the order of King Bahram or Bahram Gur, and it underwent reconstruction during the reign of Shah Abbas.

Address of Qasr-e Bahram Caravanserai: Semnan Province, 123 km south of Garmsar, northeast of Namak Lake, Qasr-e Bahram Caravanserai.

Caravanserais in Iran

9. Miandasht Mayamai Caravanserai, Semnan

On the route from Tehran to Mashhad, there are numerous caravanserais, and many of Iran’s caravanserais built during the reign of Shah Abbas are located along this busy route. Miandasht Mayamai Caravanserai is one of the most famous caravanserais in Iran, consisting of three interconnected caravanserais. Part of this large caravanserai, located 400 km away from the city of Mashhad, was built during the Safavid era, while another section was constructed during the Qajar era.

Throughout history, this caravanserai has hosted many famous and notable individuals, including “Henri Rene D’Allemagne,” one of the renowned French historians. The caravanserai underwent restoration and conservation by the Cultural Heritage organization in 1995, and it offered various facilities such as a telegraph house, printing house, bathhouse, and water reservoir for the comfort of travelers.

Address of Miandasht Mayamai Caravanserai: Semnan Province, 103 km on Shahroud-Sabzevar Road, Miandasht Village, Miandasht Mayamai Caravanserai.


10. Robat-e Anoushirvani Caravanserai, Damghan

Robat-e Anoushirvani Caravanserai in Damghan is one of the oldest caravanserais in Iran, built during the Sasanian era. It is considered one of the valuable historical landmarks in Semnan Province. Throughout history, this caravanserai has undergone several reconstructions and renovations, and the rulers of the region during the Safavid and Qajar periods have always paid special attention to it.

The caravanserai is designed in a square shape with sides measuring 75 meters. Various materials such as stone, sarooj, mortar, and brick were used in its construction. There is a tower at each corner of the caravanserai, and two additional towers are located on both sides of the main entrance. Inside the caravanserai, there are 26 iwans (vaulted halls) and chambers for the rest of the travelers. However, a significant portion of the caravanserai has been destroyed, and only stones and ruins remain.

Address of Robat-e Anoushirvani Caravanserai: Semnan Province, 36 kilometers on the Damghan to Semnan road, Robat-e Anoushirvani Caravanserai.

Caravanserais in Iran

11. Moshir Yazd Caravanserai

Moshir Yazd Caravanserai is one of the most famous caravanserais in Iran, located in the heart of the historical and ancient city of Yazd. It has been used as a hotel for tourists for several years. This caravanserai was built during the Qajar period and is situated near the Moshirolmamalek Bazaar.

The historical caravanserai has a total of 20 rooms and a central courtyard, designed in the traditional architecture of Yazd. The high domed ceilings add to the beauty of this caravanserai and give it a special charm. The accessibility for tourists who choose to stay at this caravanserai is excellent, and they can easily reach the bazaar, Jameh Mosque of Yazd, and other historical sites in the city.

Address of Moshir Yazd Caravanserai: Yazd, Imamzadeh Jafar Boulevard, Masjed Street, Moshirolmamalek Bazaar, Moshir Yazd Caravanserai.


12. Deh Namak Semnan Caravanserai

Deh Namak Caravanserai in Semnan is one of the caravanserais in Iran located in the Central Desert region, near Deh Namak Village. This caravanserai was built during the reign of Shah Abbas Safavid and has now been converted into an eco-lodge. It is located 75 kilometers away from the city of Semnan. The caravanserai is situated near Deh Namak Village, which is bordered by the Alborz Mountains to the north, the desert plain to the south, and the city of Sorkheh to the east. It enjoys pleasant weather on most days of the year. Deh Namak Caravanserai, currently operating as an eco-lodge with 26 rooms, welcomes visitors to this climate-friendly area.

Address of Deh Namak Caravanserai: Semnan Province, Aradan, Deh Namak Village, Deh Namak Caravanserai.

Caravanserais in Iran

13. Maranjab Caravanserai, Isfahan

The construction of Maranjab Caravanserai in Isfahan was ordered by Shah Abbas Safavi and is one of the 999 caravanserais built during his reign. According to historical documents, the construction of this caravanserai started in the year 1012 AH (Islamic calendar) on a land area of 3,500 square meters, and the design of the caravanserai is square-shaped. This historical caravanserai had 29 chambers and a sweet water canal to accommodate its travelers, which is considered one of its attractive features.

Most of the travelers to this caravanserai were pilgrims on the route to Mashhad, Torbat Heydariyeh, and the city of Kashan. Maranjab Caravanserai is one of the most beautiful caravanserais in Iran, which was purchased by the Cultural Heritage Organization of Iran in 1378 and is now used as a residence after restoration. Maranjab Caravanserai is located near Imamzadeh Helal in Aran Bidgol city.

Address of Maranjab Caravanserai: Isfahan Province, Aran Bidgol city, at the beginning of Maranjab Desert, Maranjab Caravanserai.


14. Sarayan Caravanserai

Sarayan Caravanserai was built during the Safavid dynasty in the year 1051 AH in the city of Sarayan in South Khorasan province, and it is one of the largest caravanserais in Iran, with various facilities such as an ancient bath with a stone inscription, several chambers, and a water reservoir. The caravanserai is located inside the city and is one of the historical attractions of South Khorasan.

Address of Sarayan Caravanserai: South Khorasan Province, Sarayan city, Sarayan Caravanserai.

Caravanserais in Iran

Final words

Caravanserais in Iran are considered a part of our country’s history and civilization, most of which were built by the orders of the Safavid kings, especially Shah Abbas. Caravanserais played an important role in Iran’s past economic prosperity and served as a transit point for many foreign merchants. Visiting these caravanserais and witnessing the architecture of these valuable structures is fascinating and educational for all history enthusiasts. To buy airplane tickets to various cities in Iran and the world 24/7, you can visit the flight ticket purchase section of the Eligasht website and purchase your flight ticket with the best price after comparing different airline prices, allowing you to experience an exciting journey.


Frequently Asked Questions

Which is the most famous caravanserai in Iran?

Zeinodin Caravanserai in Yazd province is one of the most famous caravanserais in Iran due to its unique circular architecture.


Which caravanserai is known as the mother of caravanserais in Iran?

Qasr_e Bahram Caravanserai in Qom is known as the mother of caravanserais in Iran due to its unique facilities.


Which are the most famous caravanserais in Semnan province, Iran?

Mian Dasht Mayamai Caravanserai, Qasr_e Bahram Caravanserai, Robat Anushirvani Damghan Caravanserai, and Deh Namak Caravanserai are among the most famous caravanserais in Semnan province, Iran.


Which is the most famous caravanserai in Gilan province?

Titi Siahkal Caravanserai can be considered the most famous caravanserai in Gilan province.


Which is the most famous covered caravanserai in Iran?

Saad ol-Saltaneh Caravanserai in Qazvin province is the only covered caravanserai in Iran, located in the center of Qazvin city.


Is it possible to buy airplane tickets to various cities in Iran from the Eligasht website?

Yes, you can purchase your flight tickets or recreational tours to various cities in Iran completely online, 24 hours a day, from the Eligasht website. You can embark on your journey with peace of mind.

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